COVID-19 Supports from the Provincial Government | Association of Early Childhood Educators of Alberta

COVID-19 Supports from the Provincial Government

The Alberta government will provide immediate financial relief to Alberta’s families and vulnerable populations.

Over $7.7 billion has been committed so far, including:

  • $500 million for our health system
  • $60 million for community organizations, including emergency and homeless shelters
  • $50 million for emergency isolation support
  • $3.6 billion to date in total loans to consumers and businesses that qualified for deferrals through the ATB Financial customer relief program
  • $45 million to waive interest on student loans

This also includes support for employers and employees.

Provincial Supports for Individuals:

Alberta credit unions

Credit union members will have access to a variety of programs and solutions designed to ease difficulties with loan payments and short-term cash flow.

Contact your credit union to work out a plan for your personal situation.

ATB Financial customers

Personal banking customers can apply for a deferral on their ATB loans, lines of credit and mortgages for up to 6 months.

Please contact your bank directly to see what supports they have available.

Residential education property tax rates will be frozen at last year’s level – reversing the 3.4% population and inflation increase added in Budget 2020.

We are implementing a 6 month, interest free moratorium on Alberta student loan payments for all Albertans in the process of repaying these loans.

  • Alberta Student Loan repayments will be paused for 6 months, beginning March 30, 2020.
  • Interest will not accrue during this period. This mirrors the approach of the Canada Student Loans Program.
  • Students do not need to apply for the repayment pause.
  • Borrowers may continue making payments during this period if they choose and this will not affect their eligibility to receive the benefit.

Changes for employees

  • Employees caring for children affected by school and daycare closures or ill or self-isolated family members due to COVID-19 will have access to unpaid job-protected leave. The 90-day employment requirement is waived and leave length is flexible.

Changes for employees and employers

  • Increasing the maximum time for a temporary layoff from 60 days to 120 days to ensure temporarily laid off employees stay attached to a job longer. This change is retroactive for any temporary layoffs related to COVID-19 that occurred on or after March 17.

You are eligible if you are experiencing financial hardship and cannot make your regular payments as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic. For example, you:

  • have been diagnosed with COVID-19
  • have been directed by health authorities to self-isolate
  • have lost your job
  • are taking care of a family member

Albertans who are able to pay their utilities are strongly encouraged to do so to allow greater support for those in need.

Albertans in arrears or behind in payments before the deferral program launched on March 18 are also eligible for a deferral.

How to defer utility payments

To arrange for a deferral and repayment plan, contact your natural gas or electricity provider directly.

You can sign up for the deferral at any time; however, the deferral ends on June 18, 2020. Starting June 19, the agreed upon repayment plan will be implemented.

In situations where rent and utilities are combined, contact your landlord directly to discuss the circumstances.

For further information, go here.

For further information on provincial supports for individuals, go here.

Provincial Supports for Businesses:

Credit unions

Business members should contact their credit union directly to work out a plan for their personal situation.

ATB Financial

ATB small business customers can:

  • apply for a payment deferral on loans and lines of credit for up to 6 months
  • access additional working capital for ATB customers

Other ATB business and agriculture customers can access support on a one-on-one basis.

Further solutions are being considered at this time.

For all other banking institutions, please contact them directly to see what supports they are offering.

The Alberta government is planning further measures, including legislation, to ensure commercial tenants will not face rent increases or be evicted for non-payment of rent due to the COVID-19 public health emergency.

The new measures will help address shortfalls in the current Canada Emergency Commercial Rent Assistance (CECRA) program and will give eligible business owners piece of mind as they reopen and help with Alberta's economic recovery.

Additional details are expected to be finalized during the current summer session.

WCB premium payment deferral

Small, medium and large private sector employers can defer WCB premium payments until 2021.

  • For small and medium businesses, the government will cover 50% of the 2020 premium when it is due in 2021 – saving businesses $350 million.
  • Large employers will have their 2020 WCB premium payments deferred until 2021, at which time their premiums will be due.

Employers who have already paid WCB premiums in 2020 are eligible for a rebate or credit.

Utility payment deferral

Residential, farm and small commercial customers can defer electricity and natural gas bill payments until June 18, 2020 to ensure no one will be cut off, regardless of the service provider.

This program is available to Albertans who are experiencing financial hardship as a direct result of COVID-19, such as those who have lost their employment or had to leave work to take care of an ill family member.

Call your utility provider directly to arrange for deferral on all payments until June 18, 2020.

Learn more about the utility payment deferral.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, many small- and medium-sized businesses and non-profits in Alberta have shutdown, either completely or partially, leading to severely limited sales. As they begin to reopen, the increased cost to operate under public health requirements are causing further stress among business owners and non-profits.

The Small and Medium Enterprise Relaunch Grant offers financial assistance to Alberta businesses, cooperatives, and non-profit organizations that were ordered to close or curtail operations, and that experienced a revenue reduction of at least 50 per cent, as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Eligible organizations can apply for 15% of their pre-COVID-19 revenue, up to a maximum of $5,000 in funding.

Businesses, cooperatives and non-profits can use these funds as they see fit to help offset a portion of their relaunch costs, such as implementing measures to minimize the risk of virus transmission, which could include:

  • physical barriers
  • purchasing personal protective equipment and disinfecting supplies
  • paying rent and employee wages
  • replacing inventory and more

For more information, go here.

Corporate income tax changes

Alberta corporate income tax balances and instalment payments coming due between March 18, 2020 and August 31, 2020 are deferred until August 31, 2020 to increase employers’ access to cash so they can pay employees, address debts and continue operations.

Due dates for filing corporate income tax returns due after March 18, 2020 and before June 1, 2020 have been extended to June 1, 2020.

Education property tax deferral

Education property tax rates will be frozen at last year’s level – reversing the 3.4% population and inflation increase added in Budget 2020.

Collection of non-residential education property tax for businesses will be deferred for 6 months, or both municipal and education property tax are deferred for a shorter time that is of equivalent benefit.

Municipalities are expected to set education property tax rates as they normally would, but defer collection.

Commercial landlords are encouraged to pass savings on to their tenants through reduced or deferred payments to help employers pay their employees and stay in business.

Businesses capable of paying their taxes in full are encouraged to do to so. This will assist the province in supporting Albertans through the pandemic.

Taxpayers should contact their municipality directly for information for details on their municipality’s approach to education property tax deferrals.

Temporary workplace rules are in effect as of March 17, 2020, to help employers and employees manage rapidly changing conditions. These changes will be in place as long as government determines they are no longer needed and the public health emergency order remains.

We are:

  • creating an unpaid job-protected leave for employees caring for children affected by school and daycare closures or ill or self-isolated family members due to COVID-19
    • The 90-day employment requirement is waived.
    • The leave length is flexible and linked to guidance from the Chief Medical Officer.
    • A medical note is not required.
  • regular personal and family responsibility leave rules continue to apply for all other circumstances
  • removing the 24-hour written notice requirement for shift changes
  • removing the requirement for 2 weeks notice for changes to work schedules for those under an averaging agreement
  • removing the employer requirement to provide group termination notice to employees and unions when 50 or more employees are being terminated
    • individual termination entitlements remain in effect
    • employers must still give group termination notices to the Minister of Labour and Immigration as soon as is practical
  • increasing the maximum time for temporary layoffs from 60 days to 120 days
    • this change is retroactive for temporary layoffs related to COVID-19 that occurred on or after March 17
  • streamlining approvals for modifying employment standards (variances and exemptions) related to COVID-19

Job-protected leave

Changes to the Employment Standards Code allow full and part-time employees to take 14 days of job-protected leave if they are:

Eligible employees:

  • are not required to have a medical note
  • do not need to have worked for an employer for 90 days

This leave:

  • covers the 14-day isolation period recommended by Alberta’s chief medical officer
  • may be extended if the advice of the chief medical officer changes
  • does not apply to self-employed individuals or contractors

Vacation pay, leave or banked overtime

Employers and employees may consider using other available leaves if an employee needs to isolate.

  • Employees can request using their vacation pay or banked overtime, but employers are not required to grant the request. Provincial employment rules only require employers to provide vacation pay and vacation leave within a year of it being earned, or banked overtime within 6 months of it being earned.
  • Employers can request employees voluntarily take vacation leave and/or use their vacation pay or banked overtime, but cannot force them to do so under provincial employment rules.

For further information on provincial supports for businesses, go here.

*AECEA makes every effort to ensure this information is up to date. Please consult original documentation/website to confirm accuracy*